The Beautiful Strangers
Book Review - The Beautiful Strangers by Camille di Maio
The power of social media strikes again bringing me this fantastic book by Camille di Maio. Fiona Davis posted a photo of this book on her Instagram feed with a caption that said Camille is one of her favorite historical fiction authors. So of course, I started following Camille on Instagram right away so that I’d be informed about any upcoming books! Camille messaged me after I followed her just saying thank-you (which is so rare! Why don’t more of us do that?!) and we struck up a conversation that led to her sending me a copy of her latest book, The Beautiful Strangers.
This book came out back in January and I was really bummed I couldn’t get it on my schedule until May, but the timing has a way of working out. The main character in The Beautiful Strangers, Kate Morgan, is from San Francisco so I was really excited that I was able to take photos of this book when I was in San Francisco this past weekend. Kate leaves behind her family and the family business to travel to Coronado Island to work at Hotel del Coronado on the movie set of Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe. While she’s there, she discovers a family connection to the hotel and uncovers some long-held family secrets.
There was a bit of a ghost story element that I was unsure of in the beginning. Ghost stories usually aren’t my thing, but the very last line of the book made me LOVE the ghost story part. I have a regular reader who always reads the last line of the book before deciding to read it because she hates the “happily ever after” endings. If that is you, I urge you NOT to read the last line of this book and just trust me that you’ll like the ending. I didn’t see the ending coming and I thought that little surprise was such a beautiful way to end the book.
After reading this book I watched Some Like it Hot. You would think that as a fashion historian I would enjoy old movies. I want to enjoy old movies, but they are so cringe-worthy! The acting is bad, the plots are often sexist and racist, and the story-lines are so shallow. I actually thought Marilyn Monroe’s acting was quite good in this movie. She is often remembered as just a pretty face, but she had tremendous talent.